Nothing signifies good health quite like a radiant, lit-from-within complexion. So how can we get glowing skin? The secret lies in a 360° approach, spanning skincare, makeup and lifestyle.
Achieving a complexion that exudes life and vibrancy isn’t always easy. Our skin goes through a lot in a day, exposed to things like pollution, grime and UV rays, all of which can rob it of radiance. And that’s before we’ve even stopped to think about the things that are going on inside our bodies. A lack of sleep, high levels of stress and a poor diet each have a part to play in how we look on the outside. The good news? For each of these scenarios, there is a solution – from quick, overnight fixes to long-term lifestyle tweaks.
Turns out that looking rested, refreshed and as if you’ve just returned from a week-long stint in the Bahamas is possible after all. Glowing skin, here we come.
Great skin starts with cleansing. Consider it the groundwork of your routine, laying the foundations for everything that comes afterwards. If you’re not already a double cleanse convert, allow us to introduce you to the concept. Simply put, double cleansing involves washing your face twice at the end of the day.
The first cleanse will whisk away surface grime (we’re talking makeup, SPF and anything your skin has picked up during the day) so that the second cleanse can swoop in and give your pores a really good clear-out. Balm cleansers are great as a first cleanse, as they do a brilliant job of melting away residue. For your second cleanse, a gel cleanser is a satisfying choice, leaving skin feeling fresh. That being said, there’s no reason why you can’t use the same cleanser twice – as long as it involves running water. Trust us, your skin will be glowing quicker than you can say goodbye to your makeup wipes.
Our skin is constantly busy behind the scenes, performing functions that most of us don’t give any thought to. However, as we travel down the path of life, the speed at which it carries out those tasks slows – including the rate at which it turns over old, dulling skin cells.
To give your skin a helping hand, consider introducing a liquid exfoliant to your routine. Ingredients including poly, beta and alpha-hydroxy acids break down the bonds that hold redundant skin cells to the surface, whisking them away to reveal the fresher, more radiant skin beneath. With continued use, you’re likely to notice an improvement in skin tone too, making it look clearer and healthier.
If your skincare was a feature film then free radicals would almost certainly be the villains of the piece. Free radicals come from things like UV rays, pollution and cigarette smoke, and effectively damage healthy skin cells. This can leave our skin looking drab and lacklustre, as well as more prone to fine lines and hyperpigmentation. Enter our hero, antioxidants. These ingredients, such as vitamin C, effectively take the fall for our skin, sacrificing themselves to protect our skin from damage. Apply in the morning, before heading out and about, for maximum benefits.
The phrase “prevention is better than cure” couldn’t ring more true when it comes to sun damage. The more we accumulate over the years, the more likely we are to experience accelerated signs of ageing as we travel down the path of life. And, on a more serious note, the more likely we are to develop skin cancer. So, to keep skin healthy, happy and glowing, slather it in a generous amount of SPF every morning. This advice applies to the winter months too, as UVA rays, which are responsible for the majority of skin ageing, are able to penetrate through clouds. If the weather is hot, you’re exercising or sweating, re-apply at regular intervals throughout the day.
Complexion lost its oomph? When it comes to restoring life and energy to your skin, retinal is not to be underestimated. It does a brilliant job of bringing fresher, clearer skin to the surface so you can enjoy a more radiant complexion. It helps to firm and plump too, to enhance the all-round appearance of your skin.
Dryness and dehydration are two of the biggest culprits of dull, tired-looking skin. Dry skin is a skin type where the complexion is naturally lacking in oil, while dehydrated skin is skin that is short on water. The latter tends to be short term, often brought on by things like changes in weather or stress, whereas dry skin is a long-term consideration. Whichever you’re contending with, a good moisturiser will help. They act as an additional barrier on the skin, working to keep good, helpful elements, like water and oil, in.
Diet plays a huge role in how our skin looks and feels. Consider our skin as an external mirror, reflecting how our body is doing on the inside. If you’re enjoying a healthy, balanced diet packed with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, you’ll notice your skin is far glowier than on weeks when you’re surviving on convenience foods and snacks. Foods like oily fish, nuts and oats will all help contribute towards a skin-friendly diet too. Not sure you’re eating enough fruit and veg? The government guidance of 5-a-day is a great place to start, but how colourful, and varied, your plate looks is also a good indication. If you can see a rainbow of colours, rather than beige and browns, you know you’re onto a good meal.
Just as eating well will help support your skin, so will drinking plenty of water. Every element of the body works better when it’s hydrated, and then there are the knock-on effects too. Dehydration can sometimes be mistaken for feelings of hunger, which is when many of us reach for sugary snacks to fill the void. Try upping your water intake for one week and see the difference it can make to your complexion.
How long have you used the same foundation for? 10 years? Maybe even 15? Formulations have come a long way over the years, and we no longer need to settle for cakey, powdery finishes. All cream-based makeup, whether that’s a tinted serum, a blush, or an eyeshadow, has the benefit of a light-reflecting finish, making even the driest of complexions look soft and dewy. They’re far more forgiving than powder formulas, which can settle onto rough patches and nestle into fine lines, for a more flattering finish overall.
We’re firm believers that skincare shouldn’t feel functional. Showing your skin some love by taking the time to massage in your cleanser, oil or moisturiser will take it from routine to ritual. Not to mention that the process of facial massage can help to up your glow too. Tapping, kneading and even pinching at the skin will all improve oxygen and blood flow. And, with these elements brought closer to the surface, skin will look brighter and more radiant. Win-win.
When we’re well rested, everything else slots into place much easier. You’re more likely to stick to your skincare routine, eat well and want to get outside to enjoy the day. It’s when we haven’t slept that the wheels can come off, as we reach for sugar-laden foods and caffeine for fuel. Of course, getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t come easily for everyone, especially if you suffer from insomnia. Outside of the traditional remedies like milky drinks, long baths and lavender pillow sprays, practical steps like not going to bed until you’re tired, keeping your bedroom a sleep-only zone and setting a strict wakeup time are all expert-approved ways to help you sleep better.